CINCINNATI — Another hard-throwin' Texan has developed a knack for no-hitters.
Homer Bailey threw his second in 10 months and the first in the majors this season, pitching the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Bailey became the third Reds pitcher with more than one no-hitter, joining Jim Maloney and Johnny Vander Meer — still the only big leaguer to toss two in a row. Bailey beat the Pirates 1-0 in Pittsburgh last Sept. 28 and got another 17 starts later.
"Every dog has its day twice, I guess," Bailey said. "It felt good to do it in front of the Cincinnati fans."
The last pitcher to throw one no-hitter and then another before anyone else in the majors accomplished the feat was Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, according to STATS. Baseball's career strikeout king did it for the California Angels on Sept. 28, 1974, against Minnesota, and June 1, 1975, vs. Baltimore.
Now, the Ryan Express has a worthy passenger.
"Obviously being from Texas and what a legend he is," said Bailey, who wears No. 34 in tribute to his boyhood idol. "To do it once is extra special. To do it twice — I don't really have the words for it right now."
"He comes from the state of Texas that has produced a lot of no-hitters," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who made the final out in one of Ryan's record seven no-hitters.
Bailey (5-6) dominated the defending World Series champs, who are going through quite a slump. It was so neat that there weren't many close calls.
He walked Gregor Blanco leading off the seventh, the only Giants batter to reach base. First baseman Joey Votto alertly threw out Blanco as he tried to advance from second to third on a soft one-hopper that otherwise could have become an infield single for Buster Posey.
"Joey had a great heads-up play. I was almost a little late getting to the bag," Bailey said.
With 27,509 fans on their feet chanting "Homer! Homer!" Bailey finished it off in the ninth. He jumped to glove Brandon Crawford's high comebacker, struck out Tony Abreu and retired Blanco on a grounder to third baseman Todd Frazier.
Justin Verlander, Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay are the only other active pitchers with a pair of no-hitters. Halladay, of course, threw one of his in the postseason against the Reds in 2010.
"Going into the eighth and ninth I just said, 'Why the hell not?' Here we go again," Bailey said.
When Votto caught the throw for the final out, Bailey raised both arms in triumph, reminiscent of that grand moment in Pittsburgh last September, then hugged catcher Ryan Hanigan. This time, Baker got to celebrate too — he was in a hospital in Chicago being treated for a mini-stroke last September.
Teammates poured onto the field to celebrate and doused Bailey with a red sports drink.
It was the 16th no-hitter in Cincinnati history. No Reds pitcher had thrown a no-no at home since Tom Browning's 1-0 perfect game against the Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium on Sept. 16, 1988.